We had the good fortune of connecting with Jaime Andrews and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jaime, how do you think about risk?
Everything good in my life has come from taking risks. Pursuing a passion like acting as your career is risk enough in itself, and I sacrificed a lot to do so, including living below the poverty line for a long time. I shirked off the comfort and security of lucrative day jobs for years, because I refused to give up on my dreams. I’m very fortunate that it paid off. It’s funny because my mom is extremely risk-averse, and hasn’t always been supportive of my dice-rolling, but I can’t imagine how things would’ve turned out if I hadn’t taken these chances. I certainly wouldn’t be happy. I’ve always followed my gut and my heart and am so grateful that the universe has rewarded my ventures to this point. I recently took maybe the biggest risk of my life, attempting to parlay my modest success into financing a feature film that I wrote and starred in. Who knows what will come of it, but I had to follow through on my inspiration, and it is the thing I am most proud of having accomplished in my life thus far. Even when you choose a safe path, life is uncertain, so it may as well be the sort of uncertainty that thrills you.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
There was never any question about what I wanted to be. I was an actor, always, from doing school shows and local children’s theater, to community theater in my late teens pulling me back from the brink of that dangerous path by which creative types are often tempted. It was my passion for acting that straightened me out and I studied with some wonderful teachers in NYC, racking up little credits here and there. I had a worldwide Stoli campaign, a comedy-reality show that lasted 2 episodes on SpikeTV and got to do a play in Edinburgh, Scotland for their Fringe Festival. I felt like I capped out in NY, so moved out to Los Angeles, where my first job was on the album art for My Chemical Romance. I then started doing commercials, where I had in incredibly fortunate run, and then got a gig writing and telling jokes for the TruTV show “World’s Dumbest…” I also did some kids’ tv shows and had a recurring role on Good Girls Revolt, which made news when the then head of Amazon Studios canceled it after one season, under questionable circumstances, right before being ousted during the “me too” movement.
In many ways, I feel like I’ve always been on the periphery of pop culture. Now, with this movie I’ve made, Division, I hope that my voice will be heard in a more impactful way. I believe this film really harnesses this moment in our society in a way that I haven’t seen before. I’m really grateful that I took yet another big risk of leaving a decent career in LA to come to Atlanta. I’m so happy here, and the move wholly inspired my film, which I honestly feel like I was put on earth to make. It’s my magnum opus…thus far, anyway.
This business is hard. Sometimes, even when I was doing really well on paper, I was struggling horribly in my mind. Many people think that if they could just succeed, they will be happy, but I am here to tell you that success in itself is not enough. You have to keep yourself centered, surround yourself with supportive people and just not give up. You’ll want to, that’s part of it. If you can do something else, save yourself the heartache, but if your soul will not allow for anything else, work your ass off and go for it. The highs make the lows worthwhile.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, we’ve spent half our time in Atlanta in lockdown, so we still haven’t seen as much as we would have liked! But I have always been a comedy and theatre kid, so I love taking folks to Dad’s Garage and Village Theatre, where I got to do a show before quarantine. Theatrical Outfit and Actor’s Express are also favorites…there is just such wonderful work being done here, and I hope to get more involved with the scene when it gets swinging again. My favorite food places to take people are The Porter, Arepas Mia and Sweet Auburn BBQ, and I love the community dining halls like Krog Street Market. There are so many great hikes in the Atlanta area too, our verdant nature is quite a thrill to my friends visiting from the desert of Los Angeles. There’s go-karting and mini-golf at Mountasia in Marietta, and of course, Six Flags is always on the list. I think my new favorite place to take guests, though, is going to be the Clermont Lounge. My husband and I went for the first time recently and it was such a blast, just a really unique experience. I can’t wait to get back to see live music at The Variety too!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Well, I’d be nowhere without my momma. Even if I ignored her advice (a lot), she always supported me. My husband, Curt Bonnem, has also been an amazing partner, especially in making this film. I’d also like to shout out to WIFTA (Women in Film & Television Atlanta). I’m just getting involved with them, but look forward to offering whatever knowledge I have to other women seeking careers in entertainment.
Headshots: Daniel Parvis Division Stills: Erik Scherb Division Poster: Curt Bonnem